For a Nigeria we desire, we unquestionably must sprint. There is little time to spare. Nigeria 2.0 must immediately be carefully and thoughtfully founded. This process deserves input from all Nigerians… equal shareholders in the New Nigeria Project.
We continue the conversation for the attention of the new leadership and positive social discussion on the pressing matters:
A One-Party System
Is there really a problem having a one-party system in Nigeria? The truth is that one party is all we have had and what we will most likely continue to have. It is many of the same people who got baptized, thankfully, and navigated from PDP to form APC. In another 4, 8 or 16 years it may again be the same people that will navigate from APC to power a formidable new opposition party. [Note: It is hard to see a recovery for the PDP, and the possibility will be hinged on it surviving an expected litigation barrage.]
So a one-party system is Nigeria’s foreseeable destiny and an arrangement those of us who may be averse to may have no choice but to accept. But what is wrong with such a system? How many of us have really pondered the way our democracy works? In summary, most of us clamor for a two-party system as a check method. It is all about checking those in power. But western democratic two-party ‘check systems’ cause what we just experienced—plots, conspiracies, accusations and counter accusations, slander and even terror for the duration of the tenure. It causes deadlocks and shutdowns with little progress. Party conflict is hardly a solution but rather a confounding problem.
The need for change to the Nigerian system of governance so that we do not ever end up with the people compromised for four (+) whole years as just happened, is critical. Faced with the one-party reality and the need to embrace such a system, to protect Nigeria and its people and catapult development without gridlock, we propose the following more important and urgent adjustment(s):
Plebeian Council (A People’s Assembly)
We have a Senate. We have a House of Representatives. But neither of these in reality represents their constituents, and if they do, not for long. This western Senate system simply fails to work. Our representatives belong to a new constituency – Abuja. Their ties with home are severed the minute they resume duties in Abuja. And when some of them live in the capital for 4 years, then 8 or more, they are totally ‘Akata’ to us (where ‘Akata’ means, a stray). Abuja becomes home and its wealthy become their new family.
Based on this, the only method to ensure that our representatives up to the President stay tuned with the people is the Plebeian Council or plebiscite/referendum system.
Referendum and plebiscite being coined from words referring to conferring with the people. A Plebeian Council is otherwise called, “A People’s Assembly.” There is little debate that the people must at last be protected with our assembly.
Every year or so for senators and every two years for the President (‘President’ to be replaced with ‘Prime Minister’ as earlier discussed Link: http://ends.ng/the-parliamentary-fix-to-our-broken-democracy/), there must be a referendum/plebiscite at the ward and national level as applies, where the representatives can be immediately voted out by the people. This will keep the representatives on their toes every day they remain elected in the service of the people. True servants: no impunity, no job security.
The President (Prime Minister) too, knowing full well that his midterm job approval referendum by the people may get him fired (without room for appeal), will do better than focus only on opposition bashing for instance throughout his tenure (as we just experienced).
A few points:
- A Parliamentary system will possibly avert the need for plebiscite on the ‘President’ as this responsibility will be transferred via the populace’s referendums on their constituency representatives.
- When the President or Prime Minister is voted out he will be obligated to conduct elections in stipulated time (3-6 months) for his replacement.
- This Plebeian Council will also be able to vote on national events and decisions of the state. [See Switzerland for example of Direct Democracy in action: http://direct-democracy.geschichte-schweiz.ch/]
Towards this end, the APC majority government is challenged with repealing the current electoral laws against electronic voting. The Buhari/Osinbajo administration should begin the construction of an electronic means of voting and referendum conduction with the readily available modern tools so the recurrent referendums will be easily conducted across wards for all elected officials.
Side note: Electronic voting will at last open up Diaspora voting.
To protect from manipulation, all parties will be able to examine the voting technology and voters’ data to mine for irregularities, infractions or other electronic rigging/hacks. Once up to 5% irregularity is detected by any party investigating the concluded electronic vote session, such session (data/results) will be discarded to protect credibility and reliability.
Additionally to properly run this new third legislative arm, the Plebeian Council; which is a form of “Direct Democracy,” there must be new legislation banning all forms of capital run campaigns. Senators and Reps will not be allowed to tout their ‘reputations’ to their people via private sponsored media campaigns. Violators caught engaging in sponsored campaigns must be dismissed from the Senate, House and/or Capital.
The constituents are prompted by the State to go and re-elect/appraise their representatives. Validation is either with their state ID cards (scrap the redundant voters’ ID) and thumbprints scanned on their own mobile devices or at Poll centers where electoral staff use Tablets to obtain their ID and biometrics and their votes are entered.
Ending Note: These changes (The Plebeian Council) are more important than the number of parties and who is in them. These changes are essential for the protection of the Nigerian masses. Today it is all about personality of candidates while the political system offers no protection for the people. The western checks, like Impeachment and resignation never happens at the Capital. The current system is not sustainable, healthy or rational.
This text is a draft of a next step in governance and a pathway for Nigeria in the interest of real and sustainable people’s progressive governance.